You can’t live in the South without eating a lot of catfish. I’ve had it fried, baked and broiled, but I’d never had it in a stew until just a few months ago.
I went to my friend Trish’s house for dinner, and she had a pot of heaven simmering on her stove. Of course, I dipped the spoon right in to see what delight she had cooking.
I was surprised when she said it was catfish, but when you think about it, it makes sense. Catfish is a hardy fish, which can stand up to deep frying or braising like in this stew. Don’t simmer this meal for a long time; the fish will break down. Instead, prepare it just before serving, making it a quick and easy dinner. You can omit the bacon if you want (but why???) to make it a little healthier, and you can also throw in two cups of shrimp at the same time as the catfish, if you are so inclined. I also think it would be good with a diced jalapeño for some heat.
Catfish fillets are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and it’s perfect weather for stew.
5 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups fish stock or water
3 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
Brown bacon in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat until almost crisp. Add onions and celery; sauté until onions are tender (about 3 to 5 minutes).
Add tomatoes, fish stock, ketchup, Worcestershire, seasonings and potatoes; stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 40 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
Add catfish then reduce heat to low. Cover and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir. Cover and allow stew to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
*To make homemade stock, simmer catfish bones, uncovered, in 3 of cups water until liquid is reduced by half.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 298, Calories from Fat: 130, Fat: 14 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 57 mg, Sodium: 1082 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 22 g
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